DECEMBER 2013: Switch Your Switch

Oct 30th 2015 Staff

Issue No. 43, December 2013

As you prepare to ring in a new year, it's a good time to change your lighting controls to ones more compatible with new lightbulb technology.

Turn Ons

A lighting switch is just a switch, right? As it turns out, not really. Technology is changing your home's smallest details - switches, controls, and dimmers - to make daily life more beautiful and functional.

Traditional lighting controls don't work very well with LED and CFL bulbs, because the physics of the new bulbs is much different than that of incandescent bulbs. With LEDs and CFLs, light is emitted by a driver or ballast, which do not naturally dim.

Say you have a fixture with four bulbs; one burns out and you decide to replace it with an LED-equivalent version. The old traditional dimmer does not know how to control that mixed load of bulbs, but new specialized dimmers are engineered and designed to work in that situation.

One thing that often stops homeowners from improving the efficiency of lighting controls is wiring. Older systems used to require wires from one control to another. Now, wireless controllers allow control from spots around the room or even another room.

Lightbulbs in development will integrate control technologies in new ways. As these new bulbs and controls make their way into wider acceptance in the marketplace, consumers are going to have a shift in how they think about lighting. Lightbulbs are becoming more like an appliance.

Find the perfect fixture to create your perfect space at Hortons Home Lighting.

Bulb Basics

In 2014, as standard incandescent 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs start to disappear from retail outlets, consumers will see shelves featuring three main bulb choices:

  • Halogen Incandescent
  • CFL (compact fluorescent)
  • LED (light-emitting diode)

The graphic (below) shows how the available bulb choices compare with a standard incandescent.

Expert Advice

Will a floor lamp with nine E12 G50 half-chrome bulbs give off a lot of light?

One E12 G50 bulb produces approximately half the light of one 100-watt incandescent bulb. Therefore, nine of them will produce a level of light approximately equal to 4½ 100-watt incandescent bulbs. This is quite a bit of light.

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